I’m completely giddy that football season is here. I’m a diehard football fan, which stems from my high school days in small-town Iowa. Our football team wasn’t just good—it was excellent. We competed in a state championship nearly every year, and there was huge school pride tied to our football team. I learned the game from the cold bleachers on Friday nights, and those memories return every fall.
With both our pregnancies, we kept the gender a surprise. Deep down, I knew I would love to be a boy mom. My strong roots in football traditions coupled with my husband’s love of the San Diego Chargers and all sports just felt like the perfect combo to raise boys. And here we are… with two amazing boys, now ages 10 and almost 8.
Fall weekends are full of football games—college games, NFL games—we are into them all. And now, we spend our Saturday mornings on the fields, playing flag football. We have been counting down until the first day of flag football since June. Ninety-nine days until the start on September 7… Anticipation is awesome, and I’m thrilled my boys want to play the game that I have loved for so many years.
Here are a few of the (many) reasons I want my boys to keep playing football.
We are pretty selective in our extracurricular activities.
When we say yes to a sport, it is important to me that my boys are learning to be part of a team. I want them to grasp that the game, the outcome and life, don’t revolve around them. I want to expose them to a game like football that includes many players with varying skills to make the whole team successful. This dynamic will apply to nearly every experience in their lives as they grow, so it is valuable that they comprehend this early. Our flag football experience has helped them understand how to identify their own strengths, when to lean on their teammates in other areas, and how to support and encourage others.
This might be the area I’m most passionate about in my parenting lately.
I am starting to see a lack of hard work being modeled and taught to the next generation, and it is concerning. My husband and I are incredibly intentional in how we try to model and teach hard work, and we are using football to reinforce this ethic in our kids. My husband helps coach the team. As we started last season, we helped the boys identify a skill they wanted to improve (catching the ball). We weave practice catching sessions in at the park. They enjoy the extra practice—getting super tired and worn out is fun for them.
The boys are learning day by day that the more we practice, the better they get. They are learning that success and growth take consistent effort and dedication. They may only be 10 and 8, but we are instilling in them the habits and tenacity that they can apply to so many areas of life down the road.
Leadership & Mentorship
The game of football provides so many opportunities for leadership.
I watched our eldest son take initiative last year with his team. He worked hard to help the team set goals and identify progress even when the team didn’t win (so important). I love that our boys are in an environment where they can practice leading (maybe they played quarterback during a game), and also that they can learn leadership from their coaches. Football has given the boys relationships with their coaches that are already influencing their lives. Our kids are learning from strong, passionate coaches, and that is priceless.
Football matters to our family
I know we are just getting started in our family’s football journey.
The boys are learning to love the game both on and off the field. Maybe both my boys will play for many years. Maybe only one of them will choose to keep playing. No matter what, they are learning fundamentals on the field that translate to so many other areas in life and serve them well as they grow into young men.
The National Football Foundation (NFF) launched Football Matters, to celebrate the positive impact the game has made on millions of players, coaches, administrators, volunteers, and fans nationwide. Debuting in February 2018 at www.footballmatters.com and on social media, Football Matters spotlights and explains the many benefits that football brings to communities, schools, families, and individuals and the opportunities it provides to those on and off the field and at every level. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.